It is with profound sadness that the family announces the peaceful passing of Ray at the Minnedosa Health Centre on June 17th, 2021 with his wife Joan at his side.
Left to cherish his memory is the love of his life, his wife of 59 years, Joan, his beloved children Kimberley Burgess (Glen McNabb), Nicole (Terry) McLenehan, Sean (Jodi) Madill and Kelly (Deryk) Tufford. Grandchildren include Mitchell (Megan Usick) Burgess, Kaitlyn Burgess (Randy Loucks) and their father Scott Burgess, Shay McLenehan, Ryan McLenehan (Samantha Pople), Aidan and Kieran Madill, Carson and Reese Tufford and Glen’s children Katie (Kyle and Finn) Schure, Jake McNabb (Marina Cewick) and Luke McNabb. Great grandchild is Mazey Burgess. He is also survived by his cherished sister Joy Stacey, sister-in-law Sharon Rudy, niece Lisa (Brent) Lowrie and their sons Colin and Ian. Ray was predeceased by his parents William and Elvera Madill, in laws Jack and Mary Rudy and brother-in-law Jack Stacey.
Ray was born at home on SE 10-16-17, R.M. of Minto on July 28th, 1938. He attended Bethany School for 11 years and graduated from Minnedosa Crossley Collegiate. He furthered his education at Brandon College, receiving his Teacher’s Certificate. His teaching career spanned 12 years – 1 year at Moline, 5 years at Grey School, Clanwilliam and 6 years as Principal at Alexander School. In each school he taught at he showed such care and interest in each of his students, mentoring them through coaching and activities. To this day, many former students kept in touch with him which he greatly appreciated.
He credited his life on the farm and the close connections of the Bethany community with moulding him into the person he became. He often commented how lucky he was to farm alongside his grandfather Mark and his dad in his younger years. He was an avid outdoorsman beginning with his own trapline at age 12, hunting, fishing, camping, boating and taxidermy. He enjoyed his fishing excursions to northern Manitoba with many friends so much. His love and respect for nature was something admired by many. Sports was never far from Ray’s focus in his younger days when he played baseball, hockey, curling, snowmobiling and college football.
In 1956 while attending Minnedosa Collegiate, Ray met a cute, perky brunette named Joan Rudy. They were married in August of 1962 and made their first home at the teacherage in Alexander, MB. In 1968, Ray and Joan moved back to the family farm and for the next 31 years ran an ever-expanding mixed farm operation adding more land and establishing a purebred herd of cattle as well as a commercial herd. The farm had a menagerie of animals and poultry as well as whatever Dad found orphaned or needed to be nursed back to health! In 1974, Ray purchased the only remaining Bethany General Store and with the help of a few Bethany residents, it stayed open until 1979. During the year 1975, a federally and provincially inspected meat processing plant was built on the farm and was in business for 35 plus years which employed many family, friends and neighbours. Meat cutting was added to his already busy day! During a couple of breaks from meat processing, he sold real estate and became a Coop Hail Adjuster.
Music was a gift and passion for Ray. He loved to entertain family and friends on the piano or organ as well as with singing. Ray played for a number of bands, the last being with Gerald Pederson’s band from Newdale. He could always be found entertaining at many functions which included legendary sing-a-longs.
Ray’s community involvement was extensive. He was a Boy Scout leader, baseball/hockey coach, 4-H leader, a Ducks Unlimited member and was a Rolling River School Trustee for 24 years. He was on the Minnedosa Recreation Board and was a member of the Bethany Community Centre Board of Directors for many years. He will also be remembered for his 1959 Cadillac Convertible which drove in many parades.
As a family we loved our summer trips to different Manitoba campgrounds, Manipogo being a family favourite. We graduated from six people in a truck camper to a fifth wheel camper which was a bit roomier, always hauling a boat behind. In 1993, Dad and Mom purchased a cabin at Ditch Lake and we had many fun times there for the next 25 years. Ray’s greatest joy was his family who he loved unconditionally. He was so proud of everyone’s talents and accomplishments. He enjoyed nothing better than family gatherings, the more the merrier!
In retirement, Ray and Joan moved to a farm overlooking Minnedosa and the valley in 1999. Ray found time to slow down, reading incessantly about his many interests, watching his favourite sports teams and spent many hours viewing the birds and wildlife outside his window. He found solace in his special conservation area known as “Grandpa’s Place”, a cabin built by him beside a serene marsh where he entered into an agreement with Manitoba Habitat Heritage to keep it under perpetual care for future generations.
Ray was truly a “people person”. His smile and charismatic personality made everyone feel special and he considered everyone a friend. Dad, you have left us with so many wonderful memories and a legacy beyond measure.
“See you on the trail.”
Due to covid-19 restrictions a private service will take place in the Minnedosa United Church, followed by a public graveside service on Friday, September 24, 2021 at 3:30 p.m. in the Boyd Cemetery, Bethany, MB.
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